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Just what is SIMI?
The investigation into the various incidents of terror across the country got more meaningful following the recent arrest of several Students Islamic Movement of India activists in Indore.
Intelligence Bureau officials had been keeping a tab on these men ever since Riazuddin Nasir and Yahya Khan who were arrested in Karnataka gave details about these men during both interrogation as well as the narco analysis tests conducted on them.
For the Indore police and the several other investigating agencies across the country the prize catch was Safdar Nagori, the general secretary of the banned SIMI outfit.
Intelligence Bureau officials told rediff.com that through Nagori, they will be able to put together as to how exactly the Mumbai train blasts, attacks at Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh were carried out.
Nagori, whose name figured for the first time in the Mumbai serial blasts, was actively involved in rebuilding SIMI.
Khan, president of the SIMI in Karnataka and also a software engineer by profession, said during his interrogation that SIMI activists met regularly at Hubli which is in the north of Karnataka.
There were plans to strengthen SIMI across the country and they felt that Karnataka was a safe haunt to conduct meetings.
It was only after December 2007 that SIMI activists met regularly. An officer in the Corps of Detectives, the premier investigating agency in Karnataka, told rediff.com that Khan also said that Nagori had participated in several of these meetings.
The main agenda of the meetings was to recruit more youngsters and strengthen the outfit which had been banned during the National Democratic Alliance regime at the Centre.
The key role assigned to SIMI in India was to provide logistic support to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba so that operations across the country could be carried out at ease, Khan also said during the probe.
Apart from this, they also discussed recruitment of youth into the outfit and also on how to carry out arms training.
Khan also told the investigators that all the meetings were headed by Nagori who was the brain behind the rejuvenation of SIMI in India.
Nagori had told them at the meeting that SIMI will help LeT carry out operations in India and also that Osama Bin Laden was the true mujahid.
Even as the police managed to draw information on the several activities of SIMI, the main thrust was to get the whereabouts of Nagori who was the key player.
Both Nasir as well as Khan were questioned about the same and it was through the information gathered through them that they managed to pin down Nagori and his men at Indore.
Both these persons during the interrogation had told the cops that the SIMI was active in Gujarat, Kerala [Images], Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Karnataka.
The SIMI had been on a major recruiting drive in these areas and in the past three years had inducted over 25,000 youths into their outfit.
It was also revealed that an important meeting of the SIMI also took place at Ujjain in the year 2006, which again was chaired by Nagori.
Soon after the CoD got information on Nagori, a team rushed to Indore to track down these persons.
The CoD also were looking for a person by name Hafiz who was actively involved with the SIMI in Karnataka.
The key members of the SIMI were, howeve,r picked up later by the Indore police who relied heavily on the interrogation conducted on both Khan and Nasir.
Nasir told the police that Nagori was a key person in all the operations and after training in Pakistan, the first contact in India was Nagori.
Nagori was responsible for the well being of these persons and he was also responsible for supply of arms and funds apart from organising logistic support to the LeT.
One thing becomes clear in this entire saga and that is the SIMI was trying to gain lost ground in the country.
Mohammad Asif [Images], a close aide of Nasir, who was subjected to a narco analysis test in Bengaluru recently said that activists from the SIMI had been on a recruiting spree and had approached several students in the northern part of Karnataka.
He said the main agenda was to strengthen the outfit and in the bargain become a potential threat in the country.
The CoD officials say that with the arrest of these persons in Karnataka and the subsequent arrest of the SIMI activists in Indore, it has become clear that this outfit had a big role to play in the Mumbai.
Khan and Nasir during the interrogation spoke at length regarding a meeting the SIMI leaders had at both Ujjain and Hubli.
The police are trying to join the dots between the meeting at Ujjain and the Mumbai blasts as both occurred in a span of six days.
Even as the Anti-Terrorist Cell in Mumbai is trying to ascertain the exact role played by Nagori and the SIMI outfit in the blast, a narcoanalysis conducted on one of the accused in Bengaluru throws more light.
Junaid, one of the persons arrested in connection with the Mumbai blasts, says that some SIMI activists including a sleeper from Bengaluru were involved in the blasts.
He, however, did not spell out the names of the persons correctly.
An officer in the CoD investigating the case says that youths after being inducted into SIMI would first be put on a moderate platform for the first three years.
During this period they would discuss various issues such as development of the country under a new regime.
The next stage would be a discussion regarding the atrocities committed against the Muslims across the world and how each one should fight to safeguard the religion and its people.
It was only after three years that they would get into radicalism.
The CoD also says that SIMI was slowly shifting base to Bengaluru and several techies were on their radar.
The SIMI wanted to recruit more techies into the outfit as they felt that the educated youths could be more helpful to them in their operations.
As a first step, SIMI opened an office at Bannerghatta road in Bengaluru, which they wanted to make their head office.
This office at Bannerghatta was being run under a pseudo name and it was here that most of the recruitments in Bengaluru used to take place, the CoD also said.
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